Qatar will further nationalize its public sector in the coming decade so that some nine out of 10 such jobs will be held by Qataris, the country’s Minister of Administrative Development has said.
According to QNA, Dr. Issa Saad Al-Jafali Al-Nuaimi announced the goal during a meeting about skills development, in which he emphasized cooperation between his ministry and other government bodies.
Qatar does not appear to keep statistics on how many expats work in the public sector.
However, according to a 2014 labor report from the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS), more than a quarter million foreigners hold jobs in government departments and corporations.
Qatarizing many of these jobs would be difficult due to the small size of the local population. It would also require a great deal of training, which Al-Nuami said has been ongoing.
The Qatar Tribune reports that the Ministry of Administrative Development recently prepared a “guidance scheme” for Qatari high school and university students to explain the needs of the local labor market, including for “specialized” government positions.
It is also coordinating with Qatar University, Community College of Qatar and the Supreme Education Council to encourage young Qataris to work in the government sector, the newspaper added.
The move comes amid a years-long, mostly unsuccessful push to get more Qataris to take up non-government jobs.
Though the National Development Strategy had aimed to increase the proportion of Qataris in the private sector to 15 percent by 2016, only a fraction of nationals have entered that workforce.
This is in part because Qataris appear to prefer better-paying public-sector positions, which also offer more favorable working hours and job security.
However, falling global oil prices are eroding public revenues, making the old system of relying on well-paid government jobs unsustainable, according to international management consulting firm EY, which published a GCC-wide report earlier this year.
Three years ago, Qatar National Bank warned the same thing in its 2012 Economic Insight report:
“The private sector provides opportunities for nationals to gain knowledge and skills from expatriates.
This is central to establishing the new businesses and industries that are part of Qatar’s long-term development goals of diversification and job creation (the government will not be able to provide the vast majority of Qatari jobs indefinitely).”
It also pointed out that in 2011, expats continued to make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce, which added almost 10 times as many jobs in the last four years as the government and accounted for 75 percent of all jobs in the country.